http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23977061-661,00.html Code: THE number of children seriously injured in motorbike crashes is accelerating steadily in Victoria, according to a new report. Kids as young as three were among the estimated 3,500 children injured statewide, with the number rising by 10 per cent a year. One in four children were not wearing a helmet and the vast majority of accidents occurred off-road, where the practice could not be controlled by legislation, said Dr Catherine Bevan, a paediatric emergency physician at Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. "There is an urgent need for coordinated legislative changes and educational efforts to decrease these injuries and turn the statistics around," Dr Bevan said in the Medical Journal of Australia. The study analyses motorbike injuries of children under the age of 16 who were admitted to the hospital between 2000 and 2004. About a quarter of the victims were under the age of 10. More than half had fallen off their bike, 23 per cent had hit a stationary object and only 13 per cent had collided with another vehicle. "It is very doubtful if children under 10 years, and certainly those under six years, have the developmental and cognitive ability to control the power and torque of motorcycles, nor the required capacity for hazard perception," Dr Bevan said. About 40 per cent of the children required surgery and 13 per cent had to be admitted to intensive care. Two died. But Dr Bevan said the most concerning trend was that the number of victims steadily increased by 10 per cent every year. And because most occurred off-road it was a difficult trend to manage, she said. "In Australia, it is not legal for children to ride motorcycles on public roads other than as pillion passengers," Dr Bevan said. "However, there is currently no legislation (to cover) private property or off-road." She said she hoped the research would increase public awareness about the dangers of youngsters riding motorbikes, inform injury prevention programs and get the government to take some action.